This post is a collaboration with Brabantia.
I have to start this post off with a caveat: by my old (read: pre-baby), neat-freak standards, my house is not particularly clean right now. I mean, you’d look at it, and you’d probably think it looked OK – ish – but if you looked closer, you’d quickly realise your mistake, and would probably feel like you should start fundraising to help me pay for a cleaner or something.
(Dramatic? Me?! NON!)
(Truth, though: when I was pregnant with Max, I seriously considered getting a cleaner in at least once a week after he was born, just to help me stay on top on things, because I knew how much it would bother me not being able to keep the place as clean as I liked. In the end, I decided I couldn’t justify the cost of it, but if I ever came into money – and/or managed to break my ASOS addiction – it’d be the first thing I’d do, for sure.)
My house might not be spotless, then, but it IS relatively tidy – with “relatively” being the operative word, there. That hasn’t happened without a whole lot of planning on my part, though, so today I’m sharing five of the ways I keep my house tidy, even although I don’t have nearly as much time as I’d like for cleaning.
Have less stuff
This is the cleaning tip I know no one really wants to hear, but, not to get all Marie Kondo on you, but the key to having a tidy house – and keeping it that way, even when you have a messy baby and husband to constantly undo all your good work – lies in having less stuff to start with. You just can’t keep things tidy when you have piles of stuff everywhere, so, before Max was born, I had the mother of all clear-outs, and ruthlessly got rid of everything we didn’t need. Everyone I told about this was all, “Oooh, nesting instincts kicking in!” but I was just like, “Er, no, I’m like this all the time.” And I am. I try to have big clear-outs every few months, but I’ll also do smaller ones (Like clearing out a drawer, or a shelf, or whatever) whenever I have a few minutes to spare. It makes it so much easier to keep the house clean, and, as an added bonus, I find it really satisfying, too. Yes, I know I’m strange. Moving on…
Keep cleaning products in the rooms you’ll be using them
I used to keep all of my cleaning products under the kitchen sink, in a little plastic caddy designed to allow me to just pick it up and whisk around the house with it, cleaning as I went, a bit like the heroine in a Disney movie, only not even remotely like that, sorry, Amber.
I still have that little plastic caddy, and it still contains a staggering amount of products, but these days I also keep a small amount of cleaning products dotted around the house, too, so I can do a quick clean-up whenever I have the time for it, without having to go up and down to the kitchen to fetch my cleaning stuff. So, I keep things like bathroom cleaner, bleach, etc in all of the bathrooms, there’s a mop on each floor (And vacuum cleaners on two of them), and I try to keep wipes near all of the sinks, so I can just quickly wipe them down after they’ve been used: I know this post probably makes it sound like cleaning is my hobby or something, but I’d much rather spend 30 seconds cleaning a sink once a day, than have to spend 30 minutes or more on it once a week, so this works for me.
Organise your trash
Before Max arrived, I seriously wouldn’t have believed how much rubbish babies generate. I mean, they’re TINY, right? And they just eat and sleep all day! How bad can it be REALLY?
Guys, it can be bad. As in, a few weeks after he was born, we had to call the council and ask them to give us a second bin, because the existing one was too small to hold all of the rubbish we were generating. (Most of it was nappies, to be fair, but we also seem to have a huge amount of cardboard packaging to dispose of every week because of all of the deliveries we get…) We were literally having to load up the car and drive to the local tip with it all once a week, because we couldn’t get the lid closed on the outside bin: and while we were waiting to find the time for that journey, the rubbish would have to sit in the kitchen in plastic bags. Nice! NOT.
Happily, the council granted our request, so, if you open our back door now, you’re immediately met with the sight of one blue bin (for paper and plastics) and two grey ones for general waste. Inside the house, meanwhile, we still have our two round Brabantia pedal bins in the kitchen, but we’ve now also added a second, rectangular one to the second floor of the house – partly because we needed the extra waste storage, but also so we don’t have to go up and down to the kitchen every time we want to throw something out. Yes, we’re lazy? What of it?
This is the Brabantia ‘Bo’ pedal bin, and it comes in a range of colours, which would be a great way to add a splash of colour to your home – assuming, of course, that you haven’t decided to decorate everything white/neutral, like we have. (Hands up anyone whose even remotely surprised to hear that we went for white? No one? Didn’t think so…)
It holds 36 litres, which has been really useful for us, but one of the biggest benefits is the fact that it can also have up to three separate compartments, so you can choose how best to organise your rubbish, and have lots of fun deciding which particular combination to go for. Will you just have one large compartment? Two medium sized ones? Three smaller ones? Er, is it just me, or is anyone else thinking they might now need THREE bins, just to be able to use all of the combinations?
As we already have a recycling bin in the kitchen, we just have the one single compartment in this one, which has worked out fine, as most of the rubbish generated in this room/the rest of the upstairs floors tends to all be the same type, anyway, but the thought of being able to divide things up into threes really appeals to the neat-freak side of me, too, I mean, it kind of takes organisation to a whole new level, doesn’t it?
Like our other Brabantia bins, this one has a soft-close lid, which stays open as long as you need it to, rather than snapping down when you’re in the middle of emptying something into it. Oh, and also like our other bins, for every one sold, Brabantia donates to The Ocean Cleanup, to help get rid of all of the plastic currently floating around in the world’s oceans, so it’s a bin with a conscience, too, which helps us feel just a little bit less guilty about all of the rubbish we’re currently putting into it.
Tidy up before you go to bed
You know how relationship gurus are always talking about how you should never go to bed angry? I’d like to just add to that, by saying you should never go to bed UNTIDY, either. Or when your HOUSE is untidy, rather.
Honestly, it’s a bit of a pain when you’re dog tired, and just want to be in bed already, but I always take the time to quickly tidy up the living room, load the dishwasher, and wipe down the kitchen surfaces before I go to bed. It only takes a few minutes, but it means I get to come down to a tidy house in the morning, and honestly, it’s hard enough to get out of bed some days without knowing I’m going to get up to a mess, too.
Finally, I don’t have the time these days for the big, Friday afternoon deep-cleaning sessions I used to do, so, instead they’ve been substituted with:
I feel like this needs to be written in ALL CAPS, because that’s how I feel when I’m doing it. I actually didn’t know this had a name until I saw it on You Tube (Yeah, still obsessed with those speed-cleaning videos: I sometimes watch them when I’m trapped under a sleeping baby, and I find them oddly soothing, for some reason…), but it basically refers to those times when you only have an hour or so to spare, and you basically just knuckle down and blitz as much as you can in that time. Mine isn’t always a full hour, but I make use of odd bits of time here and there to whip round the house tidying up and doing whatever needs attention the most. No, it’ll never replace a top-to-toe deep clean, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I did one of those, so this is the next best thing. Ph, and as an added bonus, it can be a pretty good workout, too. And, no, I don’t remember the last time I did one of THOSE, either…